Option 1: Autopano Pro

Autopano Pro is a great sophisticsted panorama software that comes with a Linux version (.deb package even!). It is commercial software for about 100 USD, but has a demo version that will do about the same, just watermarking the generated panoramas.

They have a an article "Fun : Stitching video frames" that explains in detail how to create a panorama from a video. I was successfully able to do it like this, on Ubuntu 14.04.

Option 2: Using Panorama Maker

Panorama Maker is a gratis, Windows and Mac software  that can create panoramas from videos automatically. I was successfully able to run the software under Linux using Wine, but could not get the video-to-panorama feature to work. Probably I just did not know the correct video format to use.

For HTML files, you can use the command-line tool html2text (even with several files at once), together with wc:

html2text *.html | wc --words

For XML files, you can use the command-line tool xml_grep instead, again together with wc. It allows to specify an XPath-like expression to define which parts of the XML text to count. Examples for TMX files:

xml_grep --text_only --cond "tuv[@xml:lang='de']/seg" languages.tmx | wc --words

xml_grep --text_only --cond seg languages.tmx | wc --words

I also shared this solution at Stackoverflow; see there for alternative approaches as well.

The mouse stopped clicking at times – it seemed to happen at arbitrary moments. The pointer would still move, but it was no longer possible to click in any way (on my ThinkPad X201 Tablet meaning: trackpoint buttons, touchpad buttons, touchpad tapping, pen input, finger input). The reason for this behavior was probably a defective keyboard (which includes the trackpoint). This post is about temporary workarounds for this issue when it happens though.

Restart OpenBox

The so far least invasive way to re-initialize the mouse (compared to restarting X or rebooting) is to restart the window manager. When you can open a terminal without the mouse working, use this command in a X virtual terminal window [source]:

openbox --replace

Alternatively, switch to a console (Ctrl+Alt+F1) and use this command:

DISPLAY=:0.0 openbox --replace


The idea explored here is to separate your data physically from the computer that you are using them on. This has the following advantages: (1) you are quite safe from theft because you can keep carrying your data with you always, even when having to let your notebook at home or in a hotel because it is too heavy; (2) you can use your data on any computer (like a friend's computer when travelling, an Internet cafe computer etc.); (3) you can hand over data items quickly and easily because every computer has a USB interface.

You have to decide if the this idea is worth its benefits for you, as all solutions below are much slower and more expensive than a bigger standard SATA III SSD (as of 2014-06, about 100 EUR new incl. shipment for a 256 GB SSD, with data transfer rates up to 600 MB/s, though the continuous transfer rates have to the researched).

However, here are the solutions I could come up with. By adequacy for my requirements – which included to be 128 GB or more in size:

  • SD card in SD card reader. This is the bes option on notebooks that come with a card reader, since it does not block any ExpressCard expansion port (reading your digital camera card is easily possible in the USB ports as well with SanDisk Ultra II SD Plus USB cards). However, it has to be tested still if the typical notebook card reader can utilize the speed of highest speed SD cards used here (else a ExpressCard/34 based card reader would be needed). Because for proper speed, we need the latest "U3" class SD cards. These are just being introduced around 2014-06, so prices will drop lateron. Currently available products:
  • SD card in ExpressCard/34 card reader. For data exchange, all readers can expose a SD card as a USB mass storage device, so no drivers on the host system are needed. The additional advantage of using a SD card is that you can also use them for other purposes (recording photos and HD video etc.). For proper speed, we need the U3 speed class cards again, see above.
  • Compact Flash card in ExpressCard/54 card reader. This is a good solution, since the speeds of Comact Flash cards are comparable to the ExpressCard SSDs while the Compact Flash format makes it simpler to find an adapter to USB mass storage (namely, a simple card reader). However, Compact Flash does not fit by width into ExpressCard/34, so your notebook will need the larger ExpressCard/54 slot [see]. Speeds of Compact Flash are great, and for data exchange you can carry a USB card reader that exposes the Compac Flash card as USB mass storage (means it needs no driver). But high-speed, large-capacity cards are also expensive; recommendable products:
    • A moderately priced one is the Hama CF 128 GB (up to 150 MB/s read, so maybe 40 MB/s continuous write?) for about 145 EUR.
  • ExpressCard/34 form factor SSD, plus USB adapter. This is the best option in terms of speed. It can be connected to other computers using a USB to ExpressCard adapter (overview; also see DeLock 61714 etc.). ExpressCard allows cards to use an USB 2.0, USB 3.0 or PCIe mode, and not all these adapters also support PCIe (the Digigear PCU10 does however, but needs manual configuration for PCIe mode). So check first which mode is used by the ExpressCard SSD – anything above 60 MB/s means USB 3.0 or PCIe mode. For the connectors etc., see the ExpressCard standards document.
    Available products 64 GB and larger:​


  • Small "knobby" USB flash drive. If your notebook has a USB 3.0 port or you can add one via an ExpressCard/34 slot or similar, the achievable speed of this solution can be good, too. It seems that there is still no 128 GB flash drive in "knob" size. A hack to get over this would be to combine two of them physically so that they fit exactly into two adjacent USB ports on your notebook (and with a small cable-type USB hub to other computers' USB ports). Available options:
  • microSD card in "knobby" microSD card reader. This option works even up to 128 GB (with 128 GB microSD cards being available). However, these cards tend to be slow. Available models: just one so far
  • Compact Flash card in 1.8" or 2.5" SATA drive bay. This is essentially using a Compact Flash card as a removable, rugged SSD. There are Compact Flash to SATA adapters for both 1.8" and 2.5" SATA SSD form factor (example: StarGat SAT2C). Also this solution will work only if your notebook can be modified in a way to allow drawing out the card from the HDD bay. And it's not really clear how the computer or operating system might react when extracting the Compact Flash card for example during ACPI Suspend mode. Also when using the system disk bay for this type of SSD, we cannot physically separate operating system and personal files as intended here.
  • miniPCIe SSD in ExpressCard and SATA external enclosure. This is more a theoretical option since you do not want to handle a bare PCB with your data on it just to connect it to a computer that does not have an ExpressCard slot. But it would work, as there are converters for miniPCIe to ExpressCard and miniPCIe to SATA.

If you are using Plesk as a server control panel and took part in all updates starting with some Plesk 10 version, you will notice that your recent version (Plesk 11.5 currently) has a total mess with respect to the web hosting directory layout. That's because during some of these updates, Plesk migrated its hosting directory structure, and now the old and new ones are mixed.

The new Plesk web hosting directory layout

Say you have two subscriptions (subscribers being the same or different customers, or even you as an admin). Each subscription has one subdomain and one additional domain. Then the web hosting directory layout would be like this (using placeholder domain names here):

  • /var/www/vhosts/subscr1-maindomain.com/subscr1-maindomain.com/
  • /var/www/vhosts/subscr1-maindomain.com/sub.subscr1-domain.com/
  • /var/www/vhosts/subscr1-maindomain.com/subscr1-otherdomain.com/
  • /var/www/vhosts/subscr2-maindomain.com/subscr2-maindomain.com/
  • /var/www/vhosts/subscr2-maindomain.com/sub.subscr2-domain/
  • /var/www/vhosts/subscr2-maindomain.com/subscr2-otherdomain.com/

Plus, in /var/www/vhosts/system/ there will be a directory for each domain and subdomain, named with its domain name, and containing subdirectories conf/, logs/ and statistics/.

Recommendation for using this directory layout

One subscription per (sub)domain. We want a directory structure that is logical and consistent, so it's not acceptable to find directories for some but not all domains inside /var/www/vhosts/. The only solution I could come up with so far is creating a new subscription for every single domain and subdomain that you want to host. And then to name the document root directory for hosting the main domain of that subscription always htdocs rather than with the domain name.

Problem: if you have a domain-restricted Plesk licence. With this method, you will run into problem depending on your Plesk licence. For example, if you have the typical "10 domains" licence. Because in this setup, every subdomain is created as its own Plesk domain record, so taking up one of the 10 available domains. While creating Plesk subdomain records for cases where their parent domain is also hosted in Plesk would not take up anything from your licence. But in my view: cleanliness first 🙂 And it's another reason to move to a recommendable, free and open source web hosting control panel.

Removing old, legacy elements. The following elements of the directory structure are probably legacy ones from the earlier Plesk versions and can be safely removed. However, I did not test this, so rename them first and check if everything still works before removing them:

  • /var/www/vhosts/example.com/subdomains/
  • /var/www/vhosts/example.com/conf/ (a symbolic link)
  • /var/www/vhosts/sub.example.com/ (in cases where this contains only conf/, logs/, statistics/ for a domain or subdomain that is an add-on domain for a subscription with another main domain, and has its document root inside that main domain's directory)
  • /var/www/vhosts/httpsdocs/ (probably not needed, as the new place seems to be /var/www/vhosts/default/httpsdocs/)

This is my list of Android applications that I recommend everyone to have and install on own phones and phones prepared for clients. Of course everybody will need more apps for specialized purposes, but these ones should be relevant for every user.

Selection criteria for this list:

  • only one selected best app for every purpose
  • any functional open source alternative is preferred to a polished proprietary software; proprietary licences are marked in red to indicate looking for a free & open replacement still
  • decentralized open communication protocols (e-mail, XMPP, SIP) are preferred to commercial centralized applications (Skype, Facebook)
  • communication apps should be privacy-enabled
  • the app selection should enable self organization and group organization, esp. for grassroots movements like social change activists

The "state" column contains my personal installation state info – just ignore 😉

state name FDroid Google Play description
x 3G/4G Speed Optimizer   Play Allows settings for faster 3G download and upload speeds, and for adjusting distribution between both. freeware
x 4EXT Recovery Control n/a Play For managing the 4EXT Recovery mode from inside an app. 4EXT Updater is a simpler, gratis alternative. commercial
x AdAway F-Droid   Removes all the pesky in-app advertisements. GPLv3
  Advanced Task Killer Free        
x Alarm Klock F-Droid   Full-featured alarm clock to help you wake up. Apache2
x Angulo F-Droid   For measuring angles and distances, also useable as a water-level. GPLv3
x APV PDF Viewer F-Droid     GPLv3
x Arity F-Droid   Scientific calculator. Apache2
x Barcode Scanner F-Droid   Complete barcode and QR code scanning app, employed by other apps as well. Apache2
  BLUE LINE        
n/y BlueGps F-Droid n/a Allows to connect an external GPS device and make it usable in e.g. OsmAnd~ via the "mock location provider" option. Means faster, more precise and higher coverage GPS, longer battery runtime, and allows placing the GPS receiver outside the car. To be evaluated. GPLv3
x Bluetooth GPS n/a Play Same as BlueGps, but non-free. Good quality though. freeware
  Busybox   Play Installer for Busybox, a boiled down version of GNU Core Utils. Needed for many other root apps, incl. 4EXT Recovery Updater. GPL 2
  CamPainter Lite        
x ChatSecure F-Droid   Encrypted XMPP chat client, including off-the-record features. Apache2
x Clock n/a n/a This app (com.android.deskclock) comes pre-installed with Android and is well done, including clock, alarm clock, countdown clock and stop watch. Only the alarm clock misses some features, so we also have Alarm Klock. open source
  Cool Reader        
x Evernote   Play Note taking and organizing system that syncs to desktop and web. freeware
  Every Locale        
x F-Droid F-Droid   Package manager / marketplace for all the Android open source software recommended here. GPLv3+
  Fake Dawn        
  FAST App Search Tool        
x Faster GPS F-Droid   Enables getting faster GPS fixes by selecting a NTP server near you. GPLv3
x Firefox F-Droid   Web browser, mobile edition. MPL2
  Freemind Viewer        
x GetBack GPS F-Droid   Finding a way back to a "home location" with GPS guidance. Hopefully better than Point, which can be inaccurate. GPLv3+
  Google Play services        
x Google Play Store        
x K-9 Mail F-Droid   Full-featured e-mail client. Apache2
  Ki Freemind        
x Mathdroid F-Droid   Handy calculator with history. GPLv3
x MrWhite F-Droid      
x Network Discovery F-Droid   A network utility: discover hosts inside a network you are connected to, and open ports on these hosts. GPLv2
  Notification Plus        
  Offline Calendar        
  OS Monitor no-gmaps        
x Osmand~ F-Droid   Super great offline map viewing and routing application. Uses OpenStreetMap data. GPLv3
x OSMTracker F-Droid   GPX tracker that allows note-taking, esp. also meant as a help for OpenStreetMap mapping work. GPLv3
x Pedometer F-Droid     GPLv3
x SatStat F-Droid   GPS, sensor and network status information. So for most purposes, a more low-level graphing app like Sensor Readout is not needed. GPLv3+
  Sca Lite        
  Search based launcher        
  Search Light F-Droid   Flashlight using the camera LEDs. Screen is on at the same time, so MrWhite is also installed as a less energy hungry alternative.  
  Speech Trainer        
  Super Ruler Free        
  Terminal Emulator        
  Theme Chooser Themes        
  Vanilla Music        
  Who Has My Stuff?        
  WiGLE Wifi Wardriving        
x Word Lens Translator n/a Play Travel app that translates words recognized in the live camera view between five languages and English. All happens offline, no network connection is used for anything. commercial
n/y WordPress F-Droid     GPL

I am still looking for apps for:

  • SMS backup application (there is SMS Backup+, but it cannot save to SD card)
  • accessing microblogging services incl. Identi.ca and Twitter
  • App for power saving while travelling: switch mobile network off (airplane mode) while the phone moves by car or train, as determined by GPS from speed and location. And only check every 30 min for missed calls.
  • Find a powerful, high usability text editor for Android. Ideally with hierarchical mode that is compatible with Freemind's double-indent text exports.
  • Find or develop an app that unifies all possible action on clipboard content, can be called from every app and stores clipboard history, and analyzes clipboard content and history to suggest relevant actions (like "send wire payment to").

Usually, you can have mentions with e-mail notifications using the Drupal mentions module, or mentions with auto-suggest using the Drupal ckeditor_mentions module, but not both. But it turns out you can, indeed, by combining both modules (see also). Here are detailed instructions how to set thus up.

Recommended: Using Message Notify for message sending

  1. Install and enable required modules: rules, mentions, ckeditor_mentions, message_notify.
  2. Configure the mentions module (in /admin/config/content/mentions) to  use "Input: Prefix: @" and "Input: Suffix: " (nothing). This corresponds to how usernames are displayed after letting ckeditor_mentions insert a suggestion.
  3. Make sure your usernames are set up to not contain spaces, because the @username format does not allow usernames with spaces to be recognized.
  4. Enable permission "Bypass Rules access control" for your user's user group, or you will get a "Access violation! You have insufficient access permissions to edit this configuration." error when trying to create the "mention:entity of type …" Rule condition below.
  5. In the admin menu, go to "Structure -> Message types" (/admin/structure/messages) and create a new message type. It is simplest to clone it from one that is meant for use in e-mails already, such as any Commons Notify message type (if you are a Drupal Commons user).
  6. Edit your new message type to your needs. You can use the following replacement tokens in both subject and body fields:
    1. [message:user:name] Username of the user to whom the message is sent.
    2. [mention:author:name] Username of the user who created the mention.
    3. [mention:entity:…]
  7. Create a new Rule (say, named message_on_mention_in_node) like this:
    1. Specify the rule's trigger to be: "React on event: After a new mention is created".
    2. Add a condition specifying "mention:entity is of type: Node".
    3. Add an action "Create a new entity". [TODO]
    4. Add an action "Provide a data value". [TODO]
    5. Add an action "Save entity". [TODO]
    6. Add an action "Send message with Message Notify" [TODO]
    7. The four actions in your rule should now look similar to this screenshot.
  8. Create a new Rule messgae_on_mention_in_comment, in analogy to the above but with the condition using entity type "comment".

Alternative: Using PHP code for message sending

It is also possible to create a rule that will send the required e-mail using custom PHP code. However, since this requires enabling the "PHP Filter (php)" module, it is not considered good practice security-wise. However, if you want to use this route, you can do so as follows:

  1. Follow steps 1-3 from the above list.
  2. Create a Rule email_on_mention_with_php.
    1. Specify the rule's trigger to be: "React on event: After a new mention is created".
    2. Add an action "Send mail", set its "To:" field to "mention:user:mail" and the Subject field to something similar to the following text:

Hello [mention:user:field-name-first] [mention:user:field-name-last],

you got mentioned by [mention:author:field-name-first] [mention:author:field-name-last] here:

if ($mention->entity_type == 'comment') {
  echo '"' . $mention->entity->subject . '"' . "\n";
  echo $mention->entity->comment_body[‘und’][0][‘safe_value’];
elseif ($mention->entity_type == 'node') {
  echo '"' . $mention->entity->title . '"' . "\n";
  echo $mention->entity->body[‘und’][0][‘safe_value’];
else {
  echo '<no preview available>';

You can view the mention and comment on it here:
if ($mention->entity_type == 'comment') {
  $cid = $mention->entity->cid;
elseif ($mention->entity_type == 'node') {
  $nid = $mention->entity->nid;
else {
  echo '<no URL available>';

best regards,

// echo("——————-\n" . 'Debugging information: $mention = ');
// print_r($mention);